Monday, April 29, 2013


Both B's are now in glasses, which means all four B's wear them! Ironically, Brailey was dying to have a pair of specs, but only needs them for reading. Britt, who was mortified to learn he needed glasses, only needs them for distance. So mainly at school when they are doing board work is when he wears them. He's okay with the idea now, since he doesn't have to wear them all the time. Brailey is thrilled as can be to have hers! Don't they both look so cute?!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Swimming Into Shape

Our Super Swimmer! Britt has been loving every single second of his swim practices. He's been working so hard - let me tell you, swim team ain't for slackers! He gives it his all every single time, and we are so proud of him and happy that he has something he loves to enjoy and look forward to. He's sucking his gut in for this picture, but he actually has slimmed down a bit, and he has been trying to be more careful about what he eats, since he is in "training." He wants to try out for the Rio Olympics. He doesn't care if he makes the Olympic team, he told me, he just wants to try out. I love it! We'll see how he feels after a couple more years, right? In the meantime, what a joy to see him so in love with a sport!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

First 4-H Horse Show - The Pre-Fair 2013

Our little cowgirl, Brailey Shaye-Shaye and her best friend, Texi-Man. These two are quite the pair. He was such a good boy for her! She is so lucky to have a horse who is "seasoned" to the noise and other horses and all the hoopla that comes with horse shows. Above, they are getting ready to ride in their first "Trail" class ever on Friday evening. We rushed home from school and made the drive to the Albany Fairgrounds to begin her first   4-H Pre-Fair Horse Show ever. We hadn't gotten around to practicing the trail event, due to time constraints, but Brailey was so brave and went into that arena and she did it! I was and am so proud of her! Of course she didn't do it perfectly, but she learned a lot, and even if she didn't exactly know how to do something, she figured out a way to get it done. And on top of it all, she caught a cold that came at her with both barrels on Saturday. She is a one tough cowgirl, no doubt about it! And do you see that shiny pink helmet? Brady picked that up for her at one of his favorite stores. He knows his little cowgirl loves pink! (And he even got it on SALE!)
Saturday morning we had to get up super early to get back to Albany for a mandatory meeting. Stacy Jo Hartley, bless her heart, helped us clip Tex's legs and ears on Thursday evening, and we also gave him a bath. So all we had to do Saturday before we loaded up was wash those white socks of Tex's, which actually stayed pretty darn clean! We didn't have the proper tools for Showmanship, since she had never done it before, but she learned a lot in that class, also. And now we know what to work on. Still, aren't they adorable? Brady and I got her this halter for Christmas - it has barrel racers and purple crystals on the conchos. I thought it would be fun for the Pre-Fair Showmanship Class, but we'll bring out the silver one for Fair.
And speaking of  Brady, he and Britt drove all the way from Lynden, WA on Saturday morning, which is just a few miles from the Canadian border, and they made it just in time to see her show in her Showmanship class. They were in Lynden for a PBR Brady judged up there, so they had to get up super early after a late night, but they made it in perfect time, and it was really special. We were so happy to see them! And yes, Britt is reading his book while walking and carrying the water bucket for his big sister. He's quite the multi-tasker, you know.
The Horsemanship, or "Western Equitation" as they call it in 4-H, went much better. Brailey and Tex really shined! She got put in a class with more experienced riders, for some reason, and it couldn't be changed, so we just rolled with it, and she got second in the class! Or a "Red," as the 4-H folks say. The really great thing is that she again learned more, and it was a super good experience for the future. Above, you can see her sneaking in a pat on Tex's neck. Technically, she shouldn't have done that, but the judge wasn't looking, and he did deserve some love for being so dang wonderful. So, another busy weekend under our belts with a lot of information to process and build on for the future. There is a ton of stuff we still don't know, but we are making new friends along the way and by the end of the year we should know if this 4-H game is for us or not. Only time will tell!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Daffodil Girl

Brailey Shaye is like my Grandma Mary in so many ways... She is nurturing to other people, loves cats and dogs and horses, enjoys cooking (even though she only gets to when my mom is around), drums her fingers on the counter just like Grandma used to do, and the way she is almost painfully shy. And she loves to pick flowers! I can remember coming home from school on many occasions and there would be a beautiful bouquet of sweet peas on my dresser (I used to live with my grandparents during the week in high school - it was the only co-ed public boarding high school at the time, and then I would go home on the weekends. I was lucky my grandparents lived in town so I didn't have to live in the dorm like almost all of my friends!) Anyway, I know she gets her flower picking from my grandma, because both my mother and I like to leave them in the yard. Every spring, though, our house is filled with beautiful flower arrangements made by Brailey, and they are lovely and wonderful to look at, and I think of my sweet daughter and smile every time I see them, and more often than not, I think of my grandma, too. Her birthday would have been this week, on April 17th. Happy Birthday, Grandma! I know you are smiling from heaven every time you see Brailey picking flowers.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Being Busy

Tell me, do you know anyone who isn't busy? As my beloved mother-in-law says, she doesn't know a single soul who isn't. Everyone, in their own reality, is busy-busy-busy!

I have to confess, I used to think I was busier than most people, as if being busy were a competition or something, and I have even taken note of people who I think are busier than me, and I am amazed at how they pull it off. Well, being busy isn't a competition, and if it is, I'm done competing. Because I am dead tired of being so doggone busy. Ironically, Brady and I have tried hard over the years to "slow down." Both of us are "Movers-and-Shakers," so slowing down from trying to "do it all" was actually a skill for us to learn. Mostly, we've been busy out of necessity - it isn't as if we have been out having nonstop-fun with our busy selves - we've just been trying to "make it." And when it comes to making it, we'll do what it takes to get the job done.

What, you might be wondering, led me to ponder all this busy nonsense? Well, as is prone to happen, my big mouth got me in trouble, again. Not with anyone else, but with myself. A few days ago, one of my friends was talking about another friend of mine she had just seen, and she said, "She's really busy, isn't she?" If I could go back and do it all over again, I would have said, "Yes. She is." Because truthfully, in her reality, she is. But ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh noooooooooooooooooo. Not me. I had to state my opinion, which does not even matter, and I said, "Well... I guess. She's not as busy as she thinks she is." And ever since those words left my mouth, I have been suffering.

I have been suffering guilt for betraying one of my dearest friends. I love this person - why would I say such a thing?! And I have been thinking about how in her world, in her reality, she really is busy. It does not matter one iota what I think about her schedule. Period, end of story. And so due to my big mouth, I now have the cross to bear of passing judgment and feeling shame. Not a good feeling, I assure you.

I will admit it - I was comparing her life to mine, and by comparison, in my own reality, I have a lot going on. Lately, it has been getting to me a bit, "it" being the stress of keeping everything going. I have been shorter-tempered, more serious and stricter than usual, just trying to maintain and make sure everything that needs to get done gets done. Having pondered this issue, though, I am going to take it down a notch, because guess what? The only thing that matters is the happiness of my family, which is the whole point of the craziness in the first place.

I have apologized to my children for being harder on them than normal, and I have let them know I am feeling a lot of stress from trying to keep up with our schedules and to get everything taken care of. I hope they will forgive me my impatience. This week, I have made a new resolution to be easier on them, to not worry so much, and to just BE. Because when it is all said and done, we are so incredibly blessed and lucky! I am so thankful to have healthy, happy children (which I shared with them, to which Britt responded, "Yah, you could have a mental child." He's so right!) I am so thankful we are able to be busy-busy-busy and to experience all these wonderful things we are experiencing! I am grateful to have the love and support of my family and friends, who understand my crazy ways, loving me in spite of my flaws. And I am going to embrace the fact that now is the time to be busy, because in the blink of an eye, my babies will be leaving the nest, and I will miss these very busy days I am referring to. I am so very grateful to be able to be home with them instead of leaving them with a care provider every day - and  that is the biggest blessing of all. To be able to be a full-time mother and wife to my family is a luxury, and shame on me for ever forgetting that and for ever feeling sorry for myself when the schedules overwhelm.

So here we go! Back to the business of life! It is such a good life, and we are so lucky to live in the time we are living in. These are the days we will remember. Truly! These are the days.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Brailey's First Western States Stock Horse Show in Albany

Brailey and Tex have been working so hard, preparing for Western States horse shows, 4-H and Pee Wee Rodeos. Saturday was the first Western States show, and we all had a blast! The Western States Stock Horse Association is super fun and we highly recommend it. By the time we were driving home, Brady was ready to enter his Mag-Doll in the next show! Brailey and Tex did a great job, and although she didn't place, we learned a lot, and the two of them are such a cute, connected pair, they are sure to come up with some wins in their future. It is going to be a fun summer! 
First thing in the morning, he had to have a bath, complete with warm water. Brady was such a trooper! Even though he had a bad cold, he was out helping his little cowgirl.
This is Brailey saying, "I'M NERVOUS!" We took this picture shortly after arriving at the show. Her nerves didn't stay for long. She was born to be "on stage," just like her Grandma Diggy.
Brailey took this picture of Tex's white socks. Sadly, they soon turned from white to off-white.
Britt was such a supportive brother all day long, and entertained himself by reading.
 I like how their legs are in sync in this picture.
Brailey's Fan Club!
Still reading...
Brailey and one of her "trainers," Stacy Jo Hartley. Stacy and her husband Robert have been working with Brailey and Tex for just over a month, now, and we're thrilled with how far they have come! Brady and I have no reining experience at all, so it has been fun to watch and learn.
Waiting for her turn... Like I said, we got to the show WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY too early! But we enjoyed it and learned so much.
The two little B's, sharing a stool. Notice Britt is still reading a book...
All done! The video is posted in the prior post. I love this picture so much I'm going to have it framed. She went a bit fast (must be that rodeo blood), but she was thrilled with herself! And now we have new goals to work toward and it is good to know she isn't afraid of a little speed. I told her it looked like a perfect Rodeo Queen run on the back side of her pattern. I think she's ready to take on the barrels!

Brailey and Tex - First Western States Stock Horse Show

Friday, April 5, 2013

Boom-Boom - Learning to be a Horse!

Remember Boomer? Look at that sweet horse... You may have been wondering where he was or how he was doing. Well, the answer to that is he's doing great! And he's been in Harney County for the past few months, learning how to be a "real" horse, instead of just a retired race horse who doesn't know anything except how to run. We sent him to Brady's friend, Todd Titus, who has done a remarkable job with Boomer and has him doing all manner of incredible things! Now, you can rope on Boomer, you can take him anywhere you want to go, even over a pile of boards set on top of railroad ties, and if you want to, you can gather cows on him or chase a bull across the field (Todd said he did manage to find a second gear in Boomer, and he thinks there may even be a third)! We sent him to Todd so he could learn all of this and more, and we couldn't be happier with how far he's come. We weren't sure what kind of a mind Boomer had, because sometimes race horses are so hot, they can't learn anything new after racing. Thankfully, Boomer is the exception, just like Brady's sister Suezy said he was. He is as gentle as a kitten! I got to ride him on Easter Sunday, and he felt like a million bucks! He's super smooth and wants to please. He is going to be coming home soon - in the meantime, he is learning more ranch skills. Brady and I are the first ones to say we are not trainers, we're just riders. Hopefully we'll be able to keep Boomer going, though, once we get him home. It was really fun to get to see him after all these months. Todd has accomplished so much on him! We are so grateful for all the work Todd has put into him and also for the fact that Boomer is worth the effort. What can we say? Suezy and I knew Boomer was and is a special boy!
Boomer and Todd
I love this horse... Look at that sweet boy!
Old friends from the valley - Todd and Brady used to rodeo together and they even worked at the same place for a while. It is has been fun for them to reconnect after all these years. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Birthday Hot Dog Roast and Easter Fun

First, the traditional Easter Eggs! They had a blast coloring their eggs at Grandma and Papa's house.
The Birthday Girl and Her Third-Born Child, Bucky!
Then, the Birthday Hot Dog Roast! For my mom's birthday, which was on Good Friday this year, she wanted to have a hot dog roast in the forest. And so we loaded up on Saturday and had the time of our lives hanging out for the entire day in the most perfect spring weather we could have ever asked for up in the forest. The kids climbed a "mountain," Britt all the way to the top and Brailey halfway before she got kind of scared and came back down. But she found a supply of petrified wood, which she brought home and is sure she can sell for a pretty penny. And Brady met Britt on his way back down the hill and went all the back to the top with him, so Britt was tired, but loved every second of the climb! We tried to fly the gorgeous kites my mom bought for them, but there wasn't enough wind. We had more fun than I can even write about! It was a great day, and we all had a wonderful time being together and just being. It is a rare occasion for The 4 B's to simply relax, so we were especially grateful for the down time and special day. 
This is a great picture of my dad - look how happy he is to be in his beloved forest!
On our way home, Brailey wanted to stop at the Hines Park - she loves this gynormous slide! I can remember sliding down it as a kid, myself. And they both love the teeter-totters, as well, which are a novelty in a park today.
And the Easter Bunny found them, all the way in Harney County! I told you they had to hunt for their Easter Eggs in sagebrush (in the previous post)... They loved every second of it! After mass, they hid eggs for each other and had a big time. It was the first nice Easter weather-wise since Britt was a baby, nine years ago. It was the last time I saw my grandma before she passed away, and the weather was a perfect seventy degrees, just like this year, and she held Britt all day long and was as happy as we'd ever seen her. The beautiful weather on this Easter reminded me of that special day... By the way, can you spot the Easter Egg in the picture below? See if you can find it.

April - Here and Gone in the Blink of an Eye

It seems crazy to think Easter Sunday was on April Fool's Day this year, but it totally was. We started our Easter at mass with our fa...